KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Japanese companies will offer a substantial equity participation to local partners, besides establishing cooperation in a variety of areas, in the event of a successful bid for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Makio Miyagawa said it would also trigger a boom for Malaysian and Singaporean companies, including small and medium enterprises.

The setting up of a railway such as the HSR will open a window for massive local participation, especially in the construction of large-scale infrastructure buildings.

In this regard, we welcome the participation and cooperation, with local companies in Malaysia and Singapore. The railway alignment will need technological know-how already accumulated in Japanese infrastructure companies.

Collaboration between local industries and their Japanese partners would be, in our policy, and an essential component in the building of solid infrastructure for such a high-tech project,” Miyagawa told Bernama.

He also reiterated Japan’s fundamental approach and commitment to maximising local participation in the construction of South East Asia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

A set of companies to be established in Malaysia and Singapore will have the joint participation of both Japanese and local industries. We would be very delighted to have their solid and forward-looking partnership and participation in the operation and management,” Miyagawa said.

The Ambassador also spoke of the larger picture of about over half a century of Japanese investments in Malaysia.

Miyagawa said: “The Japanese foreign direct investment accumulation into Malaysia has continuously been the largest. Our industries stayed on in Southeast Asia even during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, and worked together with local industries to find a way out.

Likewise, our industries will continue their presence in the Malaysian market and continue collaboration with Malaysian industries.”

He said Japanese companies had started sounding out a number of Malaysian entities on the possibility of joint-ventures and had received “very positive response” from potential partners.

The door is still wide open to other local companies, including SMEs. I think there is a very strong likelihood of creating extremely good partnerships between Japanese industries and their Malaysian and Singapore counterparts,” he added.

According to Miyagawa, Japan’s HSR bid would come with the best technology, cost effectiveness and financial package.

Japan invented the first high-speed train system in the world over 50 years ago and has managed it without fatal casualties since. For the bid, it is now showcasing the world-renowned Shinkansen system that also entails creating new townships along the HSR line as seen in the country.

This will not just create business and job opportunities for locals, but would also be an impetus for the nationwide growth of Malaysia and Singapore.

In Japan, Shinkansen stations have seen the growth of retail outlets, residences and manufacturing surrounding it.

“We want to see the same success replicated in Malaysia and Singapore. As we have been doing in Malaysia for the past 60 years via our bilateral ties, all these developments are expected, should the Shinkansen system be chosen, Miyagawa said.

Bids for the KL-Singapore HSR project are due to be submitted by the middle of this year and the successful bidder expected to be known by year-end.

Other bids are expected to come from China, South Korea and France for the project worth between RM50 billion and RM60 billion. A joint venture between Malaysia and Singapore, it is due to be operational by 2026.